John Wesley Walters, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of John Wesley Walters

(27 May 1831 to 29 July 1903)

John Wesley Walters was the son of George Walters (9 November 1805 - 1 January 1881) and Mary Margaret Fuller (2 February 1806 - 19 February 1865). The Walters were of German origin, but had been in Pennsylvania for some time. George had been born in Pennsylvania, but early in life had moved to Fairfield County, Ohio. Here, on 19 October 1924, he married Mary Fuller who was the daughter of widowed Lucinda Walters listed on the same page as the Walters in the 1820 Federal Census. John was the oldest son and third surviving child of what would eventually be a family of at least eleven children. In 1836, the family moved to Elkhart County, Indiana where they were later joined by many of the Fullers. Some online sources identify John's father as George Washington Walters, but I have never seen convincing documentation on this middle name.

The farmhouse where John was raised still survives on rolling ground just north the Goshen-Middlebury road about half way between the two cities. A little closer to Goshen and just south same road is Cornell Cemetery where many of George's relatives, including his parents and two of his own children are buried. Care needs to be taken because there is a second Cornell Cemetery, this one in Porter County, where John himself and many of the people noted below are buried.

On 28 December 1856, in Elkhart County, John married Maria C. Mock (2 February 1834 - 1 March 1888). She was the daughter of Jacob Mock (18 April 1804 - 20 February 1874) and Margaret Keltner (28 August 1815 - 7 July 1874), who were Elkhart County farmers living near the Walters family. Maria had been born in Preble County, Ohio. John and Maria's seven oldest children were born in Elkhart County. He is recorded in the 1850 and 1860 Elkhart County Federal census. John's nephew tells us in his published biography that both John W. Walters and his brother Henry were soldiers in the Union Army during the Civil War. We know that his brother-in-Law Amassa Fuller, another Porter County resident, also served in the war. John W. Walters did his service in Company F or the 148th regiment of Indiana Infantry. It was organized in Indianapolis 25 February 1865. Three days later it felt for Nashville, Tennessee. They were assigned to guard and garrison duty in the district of Middle Tennessee. They arrived too late to take part in any large scale battles; only two men were killed in battle. By 1865 Nashville had become infamous throughout the union army for its poor sanitation and unhealthy living conditions. Thirty-four men from John's regiment died of disease. They were mustered out on 5 September 1865. It seems possible that the Hebron post of the Grand Army of the Republic was named for John, but its records were destroyed by a fire in the 1890s. The names John and Maria gave their children reflect a high regard for Union generals.

In the late 1860s John moved to Dallas County, in central Missouri. Finding him in the 1870 Federal census proved difficult. John and Maria's ages were roughly correct, but the last name had been badly mangled. "Walters" had become "Walrise." Eutopa had become "Eutaka" and the translation made for electronic indexes had further complicated searching by rendering the census-takers "u" as an "n," making the name of John's oldest surviving daughter as "Entaka." Here for the first time one sees the use of "Grant" for a middle name in the four youngest children. There is a Henry Grant, who later became known as Grant Walters and a Sherman Grant who later became Sherman. John's property was said to be worth $600, marking him a farmer of modest means.

John and Maria probably moved to Porter County in the mid-1870s. His daughter's obituary reports that Maggie, born in 1876, spent her entire life in Boone Township of Porter County and she always told the census taker she had been born in Indiana. In 1880 John's son Charles Walters was working on the Porter County farm of John's sister Lucinda and her husband Amassa Fuller. However, John and Maria are not recorded in the 1880 Federal census of Porter County; nor have I found him in any other Indiana or Missouri 1880 census. We can be certain he was in Porter County by 1882. On the first day of 1881 John's father died intestate in Elkhart County. The executors, John Schwin and Jacob Harlitzer, were given the task of locating each of his many children and dividing the property between children and widow. On 4 May 1882 John W. Walters "of Porter County" signed an indenture in Elkhart County relating to the sale of property from the estate. John's final share of his father's property came to just under one hundred dollars. We also know that John and Maria's children: Charles, Myrta, Grant, Sherman and Maggie, were all married in Porter County. His youngest son Frank never married but seems to have spent all but the first few years of his life in Boone Township, Porter County, where he died in 1929.

On 1 March 1888 John's wife Maria C. Walters died. She was buried in Cornell Cemetery, near Hebron, in Porter County. Several members of the Cornell family moved to Elkhart County in 1836, the same year as John's father. Cornell's witnessed a deed for George Walters in 1843. Several members of the Cornell family also lived in Porter County. The 1900 census shows John Walters a widower living in Boone Township, Porter County. With him were his son Frank and his daughter Maggie. John W. Walters died on 29 July and is buried in Cornell Cemetery.

In later years family links to Elkhart County were not forgotten. On 20 August 1935 a large party from Porter County attended the reunions variously reported as Walters reunion and Fuller reunion which were held in McNaughton Park in Elkhart, Indiana. Those I can identify were the grandchildren and great grandchildren of Mary Margaret Fuller and George Walters. These include Mr. and Mrs. Sherman Walters (he was a grandson); Mr. and Mrs. Alvin LaHyn (she was a great granddaughter); Mrs. And Mrs. Charles Mockler and daughters (she was a great granddaughter) and Mr. Charles Walters (a grandson).

John and Maria had at least eleven children. Readers should note that many of their children rest in two distinct Cornell Cemeteries. One is in Elkhart County just off the Goshen to Middlebury Road and the other is in Porter County near Hebron.

Eutopa I. Walters (1857 - ?) was the oldest. She was born about 1857, is recorded in the 1860 census of Elkhart County, and made the journey to Dallas County, Missouri, where she is shown in the 1870 Census as Eutaka. She mistakenly transcribed in electronic indexes as "Entanka." Eutopa is not listed among the sisters of deceased family members shown in the Valparaiso Vidette after 1927. Willie Walters (2 January 1859 - 13 March 1861) died in his second year and is buried in Cornell Cemetery in Elkhart County. Catura J. Walters (25 January 1860 - 16 January 1861) also died at an early age and was buried near her sister. The next four children were probably also born in Elkhart County and are discussed in separate paragraphs below. They are: Charles D. Walters (1861-1939), Henry Grant Walters (1862-1920), Sherman Grant Walters (1865-1944), and Myrta Grant Walters (c. 1867-1944). Two more children were born in Missouri. These were John Grant Walters whom I have only located as a three month old baby in the 1870 Dallas County census and Frank M. Walters (1871-1929) who is dealt with below. The youngest child of John and Maria was Maggie Walters (1876-1939) was a life long resident of Boone Grove Township.

Bill Walters
112 Riss Drive
Normal, Illinois 61761

Source: Submitted to Porter County GenWeb on February 10, 2009, by Bill Walters, 112 Riss Drive, Normal, Illinois 61761
Page(s) in Source: Not applicable

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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